TURIN, Italy, MAY 2, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Near the Shroud of Turin, Benedict XVI met today with youth of the city and region, encouraging them to live life to the fullest and be witnesses of Christ.
"Be witnesses of Christ in our times," the Pope told the young people, who filled a rainy St. Charles Plaza, spotting it with their multicolored umbrellas.
Just before going to venerate the cloth believed to be the one in which Jesus was buried, the Holy Father told the youth: "May the Holy Shroud be for you in a totally unique way an invitation to imprint on your spirits the face of the love of God, so as to be you yourselves, in your environments, with those of your age group, a credible expression of the face of Christ."
The youth sang a song about the holy Face, especially composed for the occasion.
The Bishop of Rome reminded youth of their appointment with the Pope in Madrid in August 2011, where the next World Youth Day will be held.
"I desire with all my heart that this extraordinary event, in which I hope that a great number of you can participate, will contribute to increase in each of you enthusiasm and fidelity in following Christ and in joyfully welcoming his message, the source of new life," he said.
Someone to look to
As a model, Benedict XVI proposed to the youth the testimony of Piergiorgio Frassati (1901-1925), a student and member of the Third Order Dominicans and Catholic Action. The youth died at age 24 and was beatified 20 years ago by Pope John Paul II.
"His existence was totally surrounded by grace and love of God, and it was consumed with serenity and joy in the passionate service of Christ and neighbor," the Pontiff said. "Young like you, he lived his Christian formation with great commitment, and gave a testimony of faith, simplicity and efficacy.
"He was a young man fascinated by the beauty of the Gospel of the Beatitudes, who experimented all of the joy of being a friend of Christ, of following him, of feeling in a living way that he was part of the Church."
In light of his testimony, the Pope encouraged the youth to have "the courage to choose what is essential in life."
"Like [Piergiorgio]," the Holy Father said, "discover that it is worth it to commit oneself for God and with God, to respond to his call in the fundamental decisions and the daily ones, even when it is costly."